it's seen better days
It had 4 fairly penetrating cracks through the sort of heart-shaped bottom portion, and I wondered if I had bitten off more than I could chew trying to fix it, but it also has a lot of nice detail and is a heavy, solid piece, so I decided to try. After knocking off most of the cobwebs (yuck!), I got out the clamp and wood glue. Here is Holmes modeling the table as it lays on its side getting glued.
Using 2 clamps would have been optimal, but I only had one, so I only used one. I glued each crack and clamped it at least overnight, adding a couple of finishing nails in inconspicuous places to help reinforce it. Next I took it outside and sanded it all over. I used an electric sander on most of it and a sanding sponge on all of the small detail areas. At this point I made the decision that I didn't want to use it as a table, but wanted to try to make a bench instead. We've got plenty of end tables, but we can always use more seating. With that in mind, I went to pick out a fabric to put on a top cushion. I had originally planned this for the guest room, so I was generally trying to match the color scheme of light greens, yellow, and aqua in there. The fabric I picked is an ikat, which is big right now, and it's exactly the colors I wanted, however I'm still deciding if I love the print or not. George says it "hurts his eyes."
Once I had my fabric, I went over to Lowe's to get some paint to match. I ended up with a historic preservation color, which I like the idea of for a sort of vintage shabby chic piece. I thought about going with the deeper olive green that's an accent color, but we all know I'm a junkie for any shade of teal, so the light aqua color won out. I ended up with a Valspar paint and primer in one, since I'm both optimistic and lazy, but it actually went on really nicely and covered in two coats. I used a small foam roller to apply the paint evenly to the flat areas without brush marks. I also used a small foam paintbrush to get in the many crevices and detail areas.
using the foam roller
foam brush for the small parts
I painted outside and was constantly harassed by mosquitos, who laughed at my bug bracelet and bit me anyway. Repeatedly. No sacrifice too great for DIY.
Next, I worked on my cushion for the top of the bench. I went and got some 3/4 inch plywood cut to the dimensions of the top of my bench at Home Depot. It was cheap and sturdy, and I appreciate that they will cut it for you, since I have a mitre saw, but no table saw. I did some research online and found that high-density foam is what you want on your bench to cushion your buns. I went to a fabric store and got a piece that was closest to my top dimensions, then cut it down with a box cutter, using my wood piece as a guide.
At this point I thought I was all ready to wrap my fabric around the top of my foam and wood piece, but realized that the corners were quite sharp, despite the foam. To round the corners, I used a double layer of batting over the foam and wood, wrapping it like a present and stapling it to the back.
putting the batting over the foam
my new staple gun in action
keeping the corners neat
Once you get it all stapled on the back, it's important to cut off as much excess batting as you can beyond the staples. This will help it lie flatter when you attach it to the bench base later. Next, I did the same process with the fabric over top. Do remember to iron your fabric first though, so it's not wrinkled for eternity on the bench. The corners were the hardest part and took some experimenting to get them even close to how I wanted them to look.
After a round of paint touch-ups, it was time to attach the cushion to the wooden base. I tried some nails initially, but the underside of the former table had a very small lip area to work with and I kept bending the nails. I had a feeling screws would work better anyway, and I was right. The best part was that I used screws leftover from a bookshelf we bought, so I didn't spend time and money getting them. I pre-drilled some guide holes slightly smaller than my screws and then used the power drill to screw them through the wooden base and into the plywood. Much better. Here's a shot of the bottom of the bench.
one screw in each corner
And now it's all done! I took it upstairs by our bay window to photograph it in better light, and the cats tested it out immediately.
I like the moldings at the top
It would have been a shame to toss it, right?
Watson's enjoying the cushion
It turns out that it fits the color scheme of our living room just as well and can sit over the air vent without blocking the air flow, so I think I'll leave it upstairs for a while. There ends its journey from from the curb. I think it turned out well and was cheaper than buying the stylish upholstered stool/benches you see these days.
feline tested, Holmes approved